February 13- Practice Random Acts of Kindness (and deliberate ones, too)
Random Acts of Kindness Day is always the week of Valentine’s Day. I always love to hear how this meaningful movement has touched other’s lives. Artist author Peg Conley shares this: You’ve seen those bumper stickers, the ones encouraging you to commit “random acts of kindness?” What they can’t tell you in that little space is how performing those acts can be a way of transforming yourself. When you begin to focus on extending kindness toward others, you’ll feel more kindness coming toward you. Not only will you make someone else’s day better, you’ll be surprised at how well yours improves. It’s rather like the “secret Santa” gift exchange that many offices and families adopt during the weeks leading up to Christmas. There is delight when you do something for another while keeping your identity a secret. When you watch a person receiving a surprise gift, you see their face change, the eyes open wide with delight, a smile bursting into a grin, and laughter erupting. They appear to feel sheer joy at the unexpected. The old adage is true: “It is in giving that we receive.” The other part of the quote, which is by a San Francisco writer named Anne Herbert, is often left out: “and [practice] senseless acts of beauty.” I received a text the other day from a friend who had taken a picture with her phone of a sidewalk outside the coffee shop where she works in San Francisco. Someone had written “It’s a beautiful day” with colored chalk on the sidewalk and adorned it with butterflies and hearts. That, to me, is a senseless act of beauty. Think how many people walked on the sidewalk that day and smiled at the childish scrawl reminding them of the beautiful day.
The Hebrew word mitzvah means a good deed or an act of kindness. Judaism teaches that the world is built on kindness. I recall what my Bubbe, a dear friend in Salt Lake City who was my son’s first caregiver, used to tell me about the importance of doing mitzvah s. She believes in the power of doing something good for another person but not telling them about it. She is a perfect example of someone who practices random acts of kindness, and also one who sees and acknowledges the beauty in everyone she meets. I always feel better just by being in her presence. Entire campaigns focused on practicing random acts of kindness have sprouted up. This, along with “having an attitude of gratitude,” enriches my days in many ways. There are myriad ways you can practice random acts of kindness. Don’t forget to include yourself when you are doing them!
• Pick up trash you see on the street and make the world a better place.
• Pay for the coffee of the person behind you in line.
• Buy a cookie for a coworker and leave it on their desk.
• Hold the door open for someone.
• Smile at a stranger.
• Send a thank-you note through the mail.